Off Book? And the Power of “er”. Sure thing.

These last few years, I’ve really rekindled my love of theatre and I have made it a priority to be involved in community theatre. A couple months ago, I began the rehearsal process for the upcoming One Act Festival, for the play Sure Thing By David Ives . We’re now at the halfway point and it’s time to throw away the scripts (metaphorically) and continue rehearsing here on without them.  Scary right?

That’s what it means to be “Off- Book,” it means that by this date – determined by our lovely director the great Jennifer Townsend – we must have all the lines memorized. However, there is some lee way. So don’t be frightened quite yet.


A part of the typical rehearsal process includes steps to help the everyone progress. Meaning we don’t need to suddenly be fumbling with lines and articulations and then bam you’re on stage with all the words rolling out gracefully from thy lips. No, not quite so.  Being that this is the first Off Book day it means we are expected to not use our script but we can call for lines whenever we get stumped.

Line calls, as some of you may be aware is when an actor forgets their line and whilst staying in character say, yell or even cry sometimes “line,” and the director or stage manager then feeds the following line. It’s really fun actually.  Especially when most of the time we get stumped at the same spot. Over and over and over again.  More often than not, all it takes is one trigger word and the rest of the dialogue flows out seamlessly. Until the next line call.

That is where we are at today. Off- Book with line calls. Awesome!

It’s been so great working with my friend Chris Bowers, a writer at We’ve done a couple shows together as ensembles and such but this is the first time (for me anyway), to be on stage with a cast of simply two. Chris and I. Bill and Betty.


This cast of one other person other than myself has given me the opportunity to really explore relationships. Not only the relationship between the characters but relationship between my friends and the leading man – Chris.

I’ve always enjoyed Chris’ playful banter and easy going ways. He’s always the guy to smile at you and say hi when you run into him. Even on occasion he’s even good natured enough to let me tear open his snap button shirts, while running away gleefully like I’ve just accomplished the greatest feat. Which no doubt, is a great feat. To be stealthy enough to get ALL the buttons without the wearer stopping you.


One time I thought it brilliant if i could do “The Double.” Meaning two snap shirts… at the same time. During a rehearsal for Les Miserables, I ran between Chris and his brother Jon I skillfully reached to their collars and skillfully ran my hands down their snaps as I darted away. Only this time, there was a “riiiiiip” and the sound off little bits of plastic clicking along the floor.  Apparently. Not all the plaid shirts owned by Chris were snap button shirts. I recall sheepishly apologizing to Chris and sitting in my dressing room sewing each button on as he shook his head at me. The shame.


Thus, begins the forging of a deeper friendship between Chris and I.

In these past few weeks, due to the nature of theatre, I’ve been able to get to know Chris as more than my shirt ripping friend. Besides Jomaa’s donairs I’ve discovered we have a lot in common. I recently read his blog post on What Am I? and it really resonated with me.

I always find it odd that the average person always asks what you do for a living. As if my profession defines me. The past few years I’ve made it a habit to be mindful of my words and I choose to say very carefully “what kind of stuff do you like to do?” or “what’s your passion?” And in Chris’s blog post What Am I? He speaks of this.  I’m not saying my profession doesn’t contribute to a part of who I am, because obviously I chose it for a reason.  However, I am a multifaceted creature with many skills, passions and callings.

Lifeguarding and cleaning teeth are the ones that just happen to pay my bills. Well and pottery, painting and honestly even Woods Exploring.  Yes, I was paid to explore Woods. I think the take- away for that, is next time you’re meeting someone, what do you really mean when you say “what do you do?” because if you ask me that I’ll always say “anything and everything.”

As usual, I’m going off a tangent. Back to my friend Chris. Getting to know Chris. What does he do? Another intriguing topic of discussion, that he touched upon is his post What Am I?

At what point is a person an “er?” A danc- er, a climb- er, a potter, a writ-er, a do- er? At what point can we add suffixes to our adjectives? I have always struggled with this. Always felt that I needed to be more skilled before I could suffix myself.

For years I would say. “I climb, but i’m not a climb-er.” “I play the guitar. I’m not a guitarist.” So on and so forth. I always felt like I didn’t want to be that person that said they were something but wasn’t really good at it. Or didn’t want other people to step in and call you out. “You’re not a writ-er, you’re not a climb-er.” How, humiliating would that be?

Then in my mid twenties something clicked. I AM an “er.” I work hard at my passions and skills and that is what I think defines whether or not you can suffix yourself. If you pick up a guitar once and quit. You’re not a guitarist. But if you come back to it time and time again (even if you suck), I would respectfully call you a guitar – ist.


If you write on a sticky  note “don’t eat my lunch,” maybe don’t call yourself a writer. But if you pick up that pen or pencil time and time again even if it’s years or months or decades apart. If you have that passion to come back to it and work on it, time and time again. Then, I’d say yeah. You go ahead. You call yourself a writ-er.

Chris hit it on the the head. Like a great poet said “I am whatever I say I am, if I wasn’t then why would I say I am?” – Eminem.

I would like to end with this. I was looking for fantastic photos of Chris on his Facebook and I discovered this.  More than half a decade ago, before we even lived in the same area code,  we both created these Avatars.  A Sure Things is all about timing and relationships. it’s about finding things about one another that bring you closer.

When you ask me Bill how many times I’ve seen Bananas. I’m going to say 8 times. And if you ask if we can be friends. I’m going to say Sure Thing.



5 thoughts on “Off Book? And the Power of “er”. Sure thing.

  1. I am truly lucky to have a scene partner who thinks this much of me! Thank you for the kind words. Looking forward to further rehearsals and laughs with Melba/Betty. You are amazing!

  2. Pingback: Life Is Never a SURE THING. | Melba's Toast

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